by Nicole J. Managbanag
YEE Kitchenette, considered as one of the landmarks in Cagayan de Oro, has been known for its famous variety of pancit canton, a Chinese recipe cooked in traditional way using the pugon style that Cagayanons love to eat for 63 years.
The name was taken from Santiago Yee, a Chinese businessman from Macau, China who loved food and was a good baker. She married a woman from Antique and they were blessed with six children. They eventually settled down in Cagayan de Oro and put up the restaurant that stands still until today.
When the patriarch died, Adela Yee, the second child, took over who has shown managerial skills even at age 12. She is a single mother to two children and never finished school as she devoted her time to the business.
And her patience and hardwork paid off.
Now, Yee Kitchenette, located at Cruz Taal-Velez Streets, is a byword among pancit canton lovers.
Looking back some 63 years ago, Yee Kitchenette started as a grandiose restaurant occupying the whole block of Divisoria with a starting capital of P50,000, which was consider a big amount at that time.
Not long after, Yee became an instant hit because of its homemade noodles and the delectable pancit canton, which up to now is the favorite among Cagayanons. Unfortunately, the restaurant was burned down in a big fire that hit almost all of Divisoria area in 1969.
But the Yees never lost hope as they tried to revive the restaurant in the same year due to the demand of some friends and loyal customers, though not as grand as it used to be.
Yee decided to put up a smaller version of the pancit house. Then Yee Kitchenette was reborn.
Despite the unfortunate events that happened to Adela’s life, she still managed to succeed.
Now, Yee Kitchenette is managed by the next generation of Adela Yee and is earning between P10, 000 to P15,000 a day with new variety of dishes such as chop suey, lumpia shanghai, pancit bihon and special orders of pancit canton for very affordable prices. It caters to Class A, B, and C costumers, dine in and take out.
“This is something our family was proud of our lola’s dedication and passion to the kitchenette, which she left us. Indeed a legacy,” said Sherbelle Waban, granddaughter of Adela who now managed the kitchenette.
She said the business is something that the Yee family would pass on from generation to generation.
With its tasty pancit canton, Yee Kitchenette would surely stand out even hundreds of years more.